Call Waiting

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This full-length poetry collection from art historian David C. Ward combines wry meditations on 21st-century life, work, and family with observations of America—its landscapes, its history, its social and foreign policy. Ward’s poems are peopled by those who seem never quite able to inhabit their own lives: from well-known figures such as Andy Warhol and vanished poet Weldon Kees to Ward’s own father, a nighthawk playing poker against himself in the early hours. The book’s final section turns an unflinching gaze on the post-9/11 United States and its self-deceptions.

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June, Swoon

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River Run

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Slake

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Debridement

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The Absolute Sweetness of Decay

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Still we pretend at modesty

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Still we pretend at modesty

These days, dreams of modest heroism cloud even the smallest tyrant’s mind.

Who is exempt from self-effacing grandeur?

No one is an erratic driver or a bad lover when history is behind the wheel of fate.

We can’t kid ourselves: we all acquiesce.

Everything is in play now, even quiet moments down by the old mill pond are a product placement opportunity.

But still we play at modesty even as we rise like trout to plaudits which sting our mouths with ashes of electronic funds. Rinse, repeat: was any complex civilization ever founded on such a simple formulation?

So Katy, bar the door, and if you’re doing nothing tonight, please drop by?

We’ll each keep a foot on the floor, like pool players, and keep company for a while. You won’t stay.

Who does these days? One (notice the distancing pronoun) gets used to it. Yet alone or not, sometimes in the waking dream of night, cutting the electronic clutter that now hums our synapses, I smell white water and follow the tracery of rivers among cold pines.

 

No Place

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Self-Reliance

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Any Questions?

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Another Birthday

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These Days

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Anything special

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Pole Star

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Say again? I didn’t catch that

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Time and Tide

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Berkshire Spring, False Dawn

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Climate Change

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‘Warning! Cliff Edge! Danger!!’

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